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Gisborne fights the good fight

Gisborne fights the good fight

Green MP and Buy Local campaigner Mike Ward has offered his full support to the Gisborne community and the City Council's planning staff in their challenge to the latest Warehouse proposals. Mr Ward, the Green spokesperson for Small Business, said he was impressed by the turnout when he spoke at a public meeting in Gisborne called to discuss the Warehouse proposal and congratulated the Gisborne residents' resolve to protect their local businesses from big-box retail.

"This kind of assault on the local business environment and the aesthetics of communities can be difficult to resist in the face of highly-paid professionals arguing the developer's case," said Mr Ward.

"Often local authorities will take the line of last resistance by providing locations remote from the CBD for the large foot print stores. Council planning staff clearly recognise that this approach simply compounds the bulk purchasing and mega advertising advantages by adding the low rent low rate sweeteners.

"It is difficult to mitigate the environmental impact of big-box complexes and car parks, and in a city with already too much empty or underused retail space, adding another 10,000 square metres would simply compound an existing problem.

"Gladiator Investment's Brian Johns is wrong to say that new zoning provisions "fly in the face of reality". His comments ignore the reality of business failure that faces existing small operators when they're confronted by the malls and the mega stores. The newcomers are of a scale that even large cities have difficulty coping with.

"Communities need to pull together on this one. If local business is to thrive local people need to realise that these are the businesses employing the most people and the businesses most likely to support local initiatives and enterprises.

Buying local is an act of self-interest and strengthens communities, said Mr Ward.

"Big and cheap may look great short term but it has dire long term consequences, undermining local business and leaving a legacy of products that are frequently designed to fail. Often the products cannot be fixed and wind up contributing to the huge mountain of stuff that we already throw away in New Zealand.

"The more money you can spend in your own community the better. It has a much greater chance of finding its way back into your own pockets and the products of friends, family and neighbours."

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